poem index

Night Songs

Thomas Kinsella

1

Now, as I sink in sleep,
My heart is cut down,
Nothing—poetry nor love—
Achieving.

*

Turns again in my room,
The crippled leopard.
Paw-pad, configured
Yellow light of his eyes,
Pass, repass, repass.
Quiet, my hand; he is tame.
Soon, while I dream, will step
And stir the sunken dawn.

2

Before I woke there entered in
A woman with a golden skin
That tangled with the light.
A tang of orchards climbed the stair
And dwindled in the waxen air,
Crisping the midnight,
And the white pillows of my bed
On apple-tasted darkness fed.
Weakened with appetite
Sleep broke like a dish wherein
A woman lay with golden skin.

Copyright © 2010 by Thomas Kinsella. Reprinted fromSelected Poems with the permission of Wake Forest University Press.

Thomas Kinsella

by this poet

poem

I nodded. The books agree,
one hopes for too much.
It is ridiculous.
We are elaborate beasts.

If we concur it is only
in our hunger: the soiled gullet.
And sleep’s airy nothing.
And the moist matter of lust

—if the whole waste of women
could be gathered like one pit